This time the concert started 10 minutes late. Obviously the talent is becoming acculturated.
During the warmup, an item of concern was the fact a few taxi drivers are ripping off the visitors. The deal was rides in the inner core were to be $4, and outside the core the price doubled to $8. While a goodly number attested to the system working, almost an equal number complained of paying $10 to $18. One young lady from Chicago had yet to pay less than $10. Sinbad's answer was to simply take over the cab and sit it out until the driver charged the negotiated rate.
A second major item in the warmup and during several acts was a helicopter flyover with Pay-Per-View filming the stage and crowd from the air.
It is definitely wise to come early, get some food and drink, and visit with friends. While so engaged, one looks for a place to stand. Forget sit or lie down. It is not going to last. If you can find something to lean up against, it is definitely worth at least 25 points and a "Get out of Jail" card.
The area that satisfies most requirements is the first row against the pit fence. The bad news is you are smack dab in front of some humongous speakers.
The first headliner Saturday night was Roy Ayres and his electric xylophone. "Smooth Jazz" was his first showpiece and a crowd favorite. "Turn Me On" did the trick with at least a third of the audience and one immediately realized the crowd really knew Roy Ayres and his songs. It was definitely audience participation time with a most willing audience. The 1976 piece "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" had almost two-thirds of the audience participating.
Next was Ray Cook's song originally recorded by Kathleen Richards "You Send Me." This was followed by "Sweet Tears," dedicated to Jimmy Rogers and others who have recently passed. Finally, he played Janet Jackson's "I Got So Lonely."
Thursday at Kmart, Sinbad had raffled the privilege to introduce the headliner of choice. Winner Holly Woods chose DeBarge with guest brother El DeBarge. Ms. Wood proved to be a master of the genre as she belted out the intro.
Again, this was a group the majority of the audience knew by heart. The four DeBarge brothers appeared wearing matching cranberry jumpsuits and matching net T's accented by a metal bow buckle. Brother El was returning to the group for the first time in 15 years. Style-wise, this group is a generation-younger version of The Stylistics with a touch of rock. Its repertoire included "Rhythm of the Night," "I Like It," "All This Love," Say You Really Love Me Baby," and "I Call Your Name."
During the break for stage change, Budweiser donated $50,000 to an urban educational scholarship. The organization accepting the award immediately gave $10,000 to Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James to endow a University of the Virgin Islands scholarship.
Sinbad and DougE Fresh worked the audience to cover the set change and bring everyone to a new fever pitch of anticipation for the next talent. When the S.O.S. Band came on, the audience was ready.
Unfortunately, it appears one secret of Funk is Loud. Even someone who is deaf can get it all on the S.O.S. They may not be the baddest, but they are in line for the title "Loudest." The bass speakers were sending out such a massive dose of decibels, the heart was sent thumping. Fortunately, no one in the first third of the field appeared to have a pacemaker, as the thumping would have guaranteed fibrillation.
Again that old learning curve kicked in and a good number of front row participants decided it was time for food, drink, a visit to the necessary, and a stroll through the crowd to see and be seen. In fact, a lot of people decided to call it a night and left the field. Too much can be too much.
Again, a real winner. While some may not appreciate the "Everybody scream" tactics of DJs and a few singers, most of the crowd seemed to go along. Evidently the funk question for all times is "Where are you from?" And finally, it is most apparent the performers are old friends who support each other.
All in all it was another most enjoyable evening and everyone was having a good time.

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